Amazon.com this week launched Amazon Spark, a new feature aimed to help consumers with product discovery via shoppable images. TechCrunch reports the latest Pinterest/Instagram-like feature encourages Amazon Spark users to post stories, ideas and images about products they love, which others can then react to with "smiles." (Sound familiar?) In addition to lifestyle imagery, Spark posts can contain product photos, text, links or polls — all within the mobile app interface. Amazon Spark has quietly been in beta for the last few months before it was launched to U.S. consumers. To use Amazon Spark, you must be an Amazon Prime member.
Total Retail's Take: It was only a matter of time before the e-commerce giant tried to get more into the mobile and social space. Amazon Spark could be a more of a social media competitor, a middle ground between Pinterest and Instagram. With Amazon Spark's photo tagging capabilities, products are linked to Amazon's inventory, so the item will rarely be out of stock (an Achilles heel for platforms like Pinterest, where 404 pages are commonplace after users click on an old product link). Over the last few months, Amazon has made it a priority to add new ways for product discovery, including MyMix, personalized suggestions based on users’ activity, and an invite-only influencer program that allows consumers to connect with posts across social networks. Social media represents one of if not the best channels for product discovery, and Amazon is wisely tapping into that dynamic with Spark.